Music Features

Happy Birthday to MCR's Ray Toro: 5 Times the Guitarist Absolutely Shredded

He birthed some of My Chemical Romance's greatest moments, let's take a look back

Ray Toro, guitarist of My Chemical Romance

By Christian Bertrand (Shutterstock)

Known for his uncanny curly locks and gut-wrenching emo-harmonies, My Chemical Romance's lead guitarist, Ray Toro, has contributed monumentally to the quintet's full-bodied sound and narrative arc.

His emboldened ethereal call-and-response harmonies on "Helena" only added to the song's explosive angst and elevated the track's ringing chorus into the stratosphere. He was monumental in laying the gothic groundwork for The Black Parade, his guitar work garnering critic comparisons to Queen's legendary guitarist Brian May.

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Culture Feature

This Haunts Me: "My Immortal" May Be One of the Greatest Works of Postmodern Art

Was "My Immortal" a genuine work of terrible fanfiction, or was it a big ironic joke all along?

For fiction enthusiasts in the early 2000s, was the place to be.

In 1998, launched as a hub for fanfiction stories. The Internet was still in its Golden Age of lawlessness and creativity, with decentralized fan communities spread across personal websites and niche forums. Each brimmed with their own politics and drama, and for fans of children's novels, especially Harry Potter, fanfiction was serious business.

Battle lines were drawn over which Harry Potter characters you shipped (in explicit detail, usually). Fanfiction with the correct ships would be lauded as the greatest thing since real Bertie Bott's Every Flavor Beans, and bad ships would be derided as blasphemy. Dissent could mean being banned forever from the biggest online communities for your favorite series.

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Music Features

6 2000s Rock Songs That Still Give Us Life

Here are a few times that artists took a song and absolutely ate it alive.

My Chemical Romance - The Black Parade

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We all remember what emotional state we were in when we heard Hayley Williams belt her heart out on "All I Wanted."

The track's grinding guitars embellish an already forceful plea for companionship, but when the band cuts out, all that can be heard is Williams's crackling pipes: "I'll beg you nice from my knees / I could follow you to the beginning and just to relive the start."

Asking for someone's companionship is already a futile act; as intoxicating as young love is, it feels pathetic to have to ask for such a basic human necessity, to be stuck in codependency. As Williams's soaring vocals seep into a scream at the track's bridge, that layered frustration is palpable just from the sound of her voice.

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Music Lists

15 Songs to Sing While You Wash Away Coronavirus

We've all been taught to sing "Happy Birthday" twice, but times are tough, and we need a change.

Since the COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak reached the U.S., a number of states—including Washington, New York, and California—have called a state of emergency and canceled large gatherings.

Originally scheduled to take place this week, Austin's South by Southwest was canceled for the first time in its 32-year history. Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden both just called off rallies in Ohio due to fears surrounding the virus, while Coachella is in talks to be rescheduled for October. As the number of confirmed cases climbs, more and more employees are working from home. Harvard University is evacuating its dorms for the remainder of the semester. Times are tough.

Still, experts assure us that as long as we're generally healthy, we don't need to worry so much about coronavirus. But with so much media coverage and the reality of quarantine feeling more imminent, what better way to help us through the crisis than with song?

Health officials maintain that the best way to ease the spread of coronavirus is to avoid touching your face and, of course, wash your hands thoroughly–for at least 20 seconds. Singing "Happy Birthday" twice is a tried-and-true method, but times are changing. It's 2020. We need better songs to wash our hands to.

So, here are just a few options to sing to yourself while you get your hands squeaky clean. Go ahead and sing them out loud. We won't judge.

"Sugar, We're Goin' Down" by Fall Out Boy

Am I more than you bargained for yet?
I've been dying to tell you anything you want to hear
'Cause that's just who I am this week
Lie in the grass next to the mausoleum
I'm just a notch in your bedpost
But you're just a line in a song

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Popdust's Spooktacular Halloween Playlist

Are you tasked with hosting a Halloween party this year? Let us help you with the music.

Howl you doing boys and girls? What's up, my witches?

Spooky season is drawing nearer, and with Halloween falling on a Thursday this year, it means that there is only one weekend to curate a spooktacular party playlist, and one opportunity to throw a fa-boo-lous Halloween party. It is no easy task, but if you want your guests to shake their BOOty, eat, drink, and be scary all night long, Popdust has just the playlist that will give your friends pumpkin' to talk about.

Itsy Bitsy Spider by Carly Simon

Have you ever heard such an elegant and moving interpretation of this spooky nursery rhyme? In this version, I wasn't rooting for the rain to "wash the spider out"; instead, Simon's mash up of the nursery rhyme with her hit "Comin Around Again" paints a darker picture. "I know nothing stays the same, but if you're willing to play the game, it's coming around again," Simon sings. The Spider's journey is a complex one: He is tenacious in his dream of scaling the water spout and is an inspiration to us all. "Nothing stays the same," little Spider, keep climbing. One day, you may just turn your dream into a reality. It's a reminder of our mortality and serves as the perfect song to kick off the night as your guests eat hors d'oeuvres and pour their first cup of spiked punch.

Follow the playlist on Spotify!


10 Picks for Record Store Day

Support your local record store and don't sleep on releases from Soccer Mommy, My Chemical Romance, Courtney Barnett, Julien Baker, Green Day, Death Grips, Robyn, Weezer and more!

Photo by blocks on Unsplash

The 12th annual record store day is upon us, and it's taking place this Saturday, April 13th.

Each year, RSD is a time to celebrate independent record stores with a slew of new releases, expanded editions, special reissues, and uniquely shaped/colored vinyl. This year is seriously stacked. We've compiled a list of ten hand picked favs to serve as your record shopping guide, but you can see the full list of 500 releases and participating record stores here.

1. Soccer Mommy – For Young HeartsEP 12"

Sophie Allison, aka Soccer Mommy, is re-releasing her 2016 EP, For Young Hearts, a collection of soft-spoken bedroom-recorded songs that helped launch her Bandcamp breakout. The EP, which was initially put out on only 300 cassettes, will be released via Fat Possum Records on a green smoke vinyl with lyrics and a custom Soccer Mommy poster.

2. My Chemical Romance The Black Parade Is Dead!2 x LP

Come join The Black Parade once and for all this Record Store Day. This year, MCR are offering the first-ever vinyl version of The Black Parade Is Dead!, their 2008 live album from their Mexico City concert that was previously only available as a CD/DVD package. The double-vinyl set will feature bonus tracks "Kill All Your Friends," "My Way Home Is Through You," and "Heaven Help Us."

3. Courtney Barnett – "Everybody Hates You" 12"

"Everybody Hates You" is a bluesy cut where Barnett voices her anxieties and delivers cutting lyrics ("I'm bleeding, you're leaving, I feel strange") over a rugged guitar riff in her quintessential Australian lilt. The brand new track is an RSD exclusive that will be put out with a previously released track, "Small Tack," on the B-Side.

4. Death Grips -Steroids (Crouching Tiger Hidden Gabber Megamix) LP

Death Grips are releasing two singles that were previously only available online –– the 22-minute "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Gabber" on side A and the Les Claypool-featured "More than the Fairy" on Side B, plus a track entitled "electronic drum solo dub mix (single take)."

5. Angelo Badalamenti / David Lynch –Twin Peaks Season Two: Music and More2 x LP

"Twin Peaks" is a series known for being shrouded in mystery and confusion. One of the biggest questions to date is how to get your hands on season two's soundtrack, which was only available on a limited CD released in 2007. Well, RSD has the answer to your prayers. The soundtrack of Twin Peak's second season is being re-released. Overseen by David Lynch, the double LP reissue will feature 24 tracks on dark green and blue vinyl.

6. Julien Baker –"Red Door"/"Conversation Piece" 7"

This Record Store Day, singer-songwriter Julien Baker is putting out two previously unreleased tracks, "Red Door" and "Conversation Piece," on a gorgeous red vinyl seven-inch. Baker, who performs in indie rock supergroup, boygenius, alongside Phoebe Bridgers and Lucy Dacus, already has a few solo albums under her belt––Turn Out the Lights (2017) and Sprained Ankle (2015)––which helped the 23-year-old gain notoriety for her direct, vulnerable style of songwriting.

7. Robyn -Body Talk2 x LP

Robyn is releasing an exclusive vinyl edition of 2011's Body Talk (featuring the hit single "Dancing On My Own"), which will bring together the Body Talk EPs into a double LP for the first time. It will also include unreleased acoustic versions of "Stars 4-Ever," plus a voucher for digital download.

8. Green Day –Woodstock 1994LP

Green Day's set at Woodstock '94 went down in infamy when it turned into a mud-slinging riot, and now you can hear the live performance from the comfort of your non-muddy home. The RSD release will feature re-mastered versions of "Basket Case, "When I Come Around," and "Chump," among other songs. The vinyl is limited to 6,800 copies so be sure to get yours fast!

9. Weezer - "Dusty Gems and Raw Nuggets: The B-Sides" "Rockabye Baby: Lullaby Renditions of Weezer" and "Weezer (Teal Album)"

Weezer fans, it's time to rejoice because this Record Store Day, Weezer is doing a lot. They're releasing the first ever vinyl pressing of the blue album's B-sides, rarities, alternate mixes, and demos. Also, If you've ever wanted to hear Weezer's legendary Blue Album re-imagined into a series of lullabies, now's your chance. There's only 900 copies being made, but don't worry. Weezer is also putting out their set of ten covers, that make up the Teal Album, on limited edition teal vinyl for Record Store Day.

10. Various Artists -Office Space Original Motion Picture SoundtrackLP

The 1999 cult classic soundtrack is getting pressed on vinyl! The soundtrack includes the movie's iconic songs from Ice Cube, Slum Village, Kool Keith, and more.

Sara is a music and culture writer who lives in Brooklyn. Her work has previously appeared in PAPER magazine and Stereogum.

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